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11-10-2013, 15:18 PM #1
Philippine typhoon leaves up to 10,000 dead in Tacloban city
Massive relief efforts are underway in the Philippines days after one of the worst storms ever recorded unleashed ferocious winds and giant waves in parts of the country, killing as many as 10,000 people in one city alone.
Officials projected the death toll could climb even higher when emergency crews reach areas cut off by flooding and landslides. Even in the disaster-prone Philippines, which regularly contends with earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical cyclones, Typhoon Haiyan appears to be the deadliest natural disaster on record.
Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippine archipelago on Friday and quickly barreled across its central islands before exiting into the South China Sea, packing winds of 235 kilometers per hour that gusted to 275 km/h, and a storm surge that caused sea waters to rise 6 meters.
It wasn’t until Sunday that the scale of the devastation became clear, with local officials on hardest-hit Leyte Island saying that there may be 10,000 dead in the provincial capital of Tacloban alone. Reports also trickled in from elsewhere on the island, and from neighboring islands, indicating hundreds, if not thousands of more deaths, though it will be days before the full extent of the storm’s impact can be assessed.
“On the way to the airport we saw many bodies along the street,” said Philippine-born Australian Mila Ward, 53, who was waiting at the Tacloban airport to catch a military flight back to Manila, about 580 kilometers to the northwest. “They were covered with just anything — tarpaulin, roofing sheets, cardboards.” She said she passed “well over 100” dead bodies along the way.
Haiyan raced across the eastern and central Philippines, inflicting serious damage to at least six of the archipelago’s more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, neighboring Samar Island, and the northern part of Cebu appearing to take the hardest hits. It weakened as it crossed the South China Sea before approaching northern Vietnam, where it was forecast to hit early Monday morning.
On Leyte, regional police chief Elmer Soria said the provincial governor had told him there were about 10,000 deaths there, primarily from drowning and collapsed buildings. Most of the deaths were in Tacloban, a city of about 200,000 that is the biggest on Leyte Island.
In many areas there is no clean water, no electricity and very little food.
Thousands of troops have been deployed to the disaster zones and military cargo planes are flying in supplies. However, rescuers are hampered by debris and damaged roads.
Vietnam is now preparing for the typhoon, with more than 600,000 people evacuated in northern provinces.
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